The relationship between a human and his pet is unselfish, unyielding and everlasting. You pet can provide constant companionship for years and years, but what happens if your beloved pet were to get sick.

Veterinarian bills can get pretty high, and if you do not have pet insurance, you will be forced to pay everything out of pocket. Since you don’t want to compromise your pet’s health, here are some things you can do to minimize the amount you have to pay on vet bills.

Preventative Measures

Like humans, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking care of your pet can prolong his or her life and minimize trips to the vet. Here are some measures you can take to decrease your chances of having to go to the vet in the first place.

  1. Keep your pet svelte. Overweight animals are more likely to have heart disease, joint problems and diabetes. If you pet could benefit from cutting out a few pounds, ask your vet about switching foods or reducing the amount of food you give. Also, do not leave food out for your pet to graze all day as it can lead to overeating.
  2. Be up-to-date on vaccines and treatments. Though it seems like an unnecessary cost right now, it will cost you less for you to prevent heartworms than to treat them. While prevention costs about $20-40 twice a year, treatment for heartworms could cause you up to a $1,000 and is also painful for your canine.
  3. Pet-proof your home. Just as with babies and kids, you want to make sure your home is animal proofed. Keep cleaners, medications and anything else with chemicals hidden where your pet can’t get to them. Also, keep in mind that there are certain foods and plants can be toxic to your pet even though they are fine for you. For example, chocolate and castor bean plants are toxic to dogs and should not be kept around your canine.
  4. Monitor changes. Slight changes in bathroom behavior, breath, weight, energy or appetite can signal problems with your pet. Catching a disease or illness early can save your pet a lot of pain and can also save you a ton of money on vet bills.

At The Vet

Sometimes going to the vet is unavoidable, and the trip usually comes with a high bill. The best way to save some money at the vet’s office is to be upfront and talk with your vet about your money situation. It’s not always the most comfortable conversation, but it could help you save a few bucks and could give your vet a heads up to not offer you about the priciest treatment options. Here are a few things you can talk to your vet about regarding your financial situation.

  1. Ask for a written estimate before any treatment is done. With a written estimate, you won’t be surprised by a high bill that must be paid, and you can talk to your vet about alternative options that could bring the price down.
  2. Ask about payment options. Some vets offer payment plans or credit lines that could help ease the blow of one large payment. If you are considering a line of credit with your vet, make sure you check the terms and interest. You do not want to spread your bill out only to discover you are paying out the door in interest.
  3. Ask how you can save on prescriptions. Often times, vets have free samples they can give out if you ask. If free is not an option, shop around for cheaper pharmacies. Some pet medications are also used for humans, so you can actually save some money if you get your pet’s prescription filled at an outside pharmacy.
  4. Talk to your vet about over-vaccination. While getting your pet vaccinated is essential, it is not always necessary to do it annually. Your vet’s office may send yearly reminders about vaccinations, but that does not always mean your pet needs another dose right away. Talk to your vet about spacing your pet’s vaccines out correctly so that he is still protected, but you aren’t doing it as often.
  5. Ask for discounts. Some vets will offer a multi-pet discount. Not all vets will do it, but if you have more than one animal going to see the same doctor, it can’t hurt to ask.

Vet bills tend to be costly, but paying them is necessary when you have a pet in your life. By taking preventative measures and taking care of your pet’s health, you can minimize how often your pet gets sick. Once you are at the vet, talking to your vet about payment options and discounts can help to save you money. Taking your pet to the vet is important, but it doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money.

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